Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

There seems to be an idea abroad that if the usual suspects shout and weep even louder that this equals more pressure.

Ruth Gledhill seems to want to play along as the deposing of Bishop Bob Duncan, the ex-Bishop of Pittburgh, meets the usual sensationalist agenda requirements.

In England it would be surprising if the Bishops of Winchester, Blackburn, Chester, Chichester, Exeter and Rochester didn't comment. Or Anglican Mainstream. Or Fulcrum (a little). So what?

Bishop Robert Duncan was ducking and diving, dodging and weaving, with the clear intention of moving his diocese out of The Episcopal Church. Someone with more skill than him went in and took him out.

A paragraph as this...

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is facing growing pressure to create a new Anglican province for conservatives after a leading evangelical was effectively defrocked in the US. nonsense because the Archbishop of Canterbury does not create anything, let alone even recognise anything. It is not his business to comment on the internal affairs of other Churches. The Anglican Consultative Council may alter who it recognises as in the Anglican Communion. This intended 'Province of North America in GAFCON' (whatever that is) does not even exist yet. So all this is just sensationalist hype, as ever.

Michael Nazir-Ali gave a telephone interview to The Times in which he is quoted as saying:
"Quite a few American bishops had come to Lambeth, knowing that nothing would change afterwards. I do not think we can take seriously what they agreed at Lambeth. This is of a piece with other meetings where they have been present, have agreed things and where nothing has happened afterwards."

First of all, Michael Nazir-Ali stayed away. Secondly, no one "agreed" to anything at Lambeth, so American action was not "of a piece" with anything. The whole point was no one agreed to anything. Rowan Williams and his group announced an intention to have a Pastoral Forum, and spoke about if the moratoria on boundary crossings and same sex blessings and active relationship gays in the episcopate are not maintained. Well, they are not maintained: it seems that there is an continuing intention abroad for not having active relationship gays in the episcopate for the time being and subjecting same sex blessings to discipline (forcing Archbishop Barry Morgan in Wales to respond to the press by publically face in two directions at once). But the boundary crossings continue without a pause for breath.

The action of TEC, in taking first steps to prevent a bishop trying to remove a diocese, is to prevent one of these transgressions - to stop what would amount to boundary crossing. If Lambeth 2008 is to be observed in any sense, then Duncan would have announced an intention to go into the coming Pastoral Forum's dry dock.

So, arguably, TEC has been completely consistent with Lambeth.

For the Archbishop of Canterbury to ask the ACC recognise a competitor province would indeed be to institutionalise the split in the Anglican Communion, which GAFCON has aimed to bring about by setting up its own Primates Council, a different seat of authority.


Fr Craig said...

P - Duncan was deposed for abandonment of communion. The canon dates to 100 years ago, and the bishops were faced with clear evidence that he had failed all three tests. +Duncan's lawyer requested time to speak to the House of Bishops, but didn't bother to show up. His deposition was NOT because of what he might do, but because of what he had already done. The ignorance of the British bishops over the polity of the TEC amazes me. We are governed not by an archbishop but by our General Convention, and it sets the canons, and the bishops are subject to them. They know this going in. Duncan's flouting of all this was not a martyrdom, but a flagrant act of egotism and defiance. I'm sure he's a good guy - my own bishop, who voted for depostion, considers him a friend. But in TEC, you are subject to certain rules. Duncan played the separatist card in hopes of becoming AB of a 'new' Anglican communion in North America, and he lost. Tough luck.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Yes, he'd left a good enough trail of his separatism.